It was March 29, 1898, in the old Public School Building on Main Street, that a meeting was
called to order by David Outcalt. The purpose of this meeting was to organize a fire
company to protect Spotswood, which, at that time was part of East Brunswick. The
Borough of Spotswood was not incorporated until 1908. The Enterprise Hook & Ladder
Company of Spotswood was incorporated on May 10, 1898 in order to protect life and
property from fire. At that time thirty two men were elected as members. By August of that
same year the membership had increased to sixty eight men.
The first firehouse in Spotswood was built at a cost of $130 and was located in the rear of
Underhill and Cornell’s store on a piece of property owned by Mr. A. DeVoe. A fire alarm was
donated by the South Amboy Fire Company. The first piece of fire apparatus was purchased
from a Long Branch company on June 6, 1898. The cost was $56 plus $45 for repairs and
On the night of October 31, 1898, the Enterprise Hook & Ladder Company answered its first
‘alarm of fire’. The fire was located in a building owned by George Appleby near “Little Pond”.
The building was of little value and the pumps were not turned on until the fire was well
underway. When the water was turned on, the firemen were gratified to see that the pump
was performing satisfactorily.
In 1912 the fire company purchased and installed a new bell in the tower of the was purchased for $800. It was in this firehouse. Today, this bell is a part of the building that a new firehouse was established. building that a
new firehouse was established. In 1912 the fire company purchased and installed a new bell in the tower of the firehouse. Today, this bell is a part of the Firefighters’ Memorial located in Triangle Park.
truck has been restored and is our jewel in parades. In 1925, six rubber coats, six helmets, and four pairs of boots were the first pieces of personal protective equipment were purchased.
Model “T” Chemical truck for $1,975. At the
same time, pumping stations at the lake
and other streams were being completed in
order to obtain water to extinguish fires
the firefighters to join the New Jersey State Firemen’s Relief Association, and also prompted the company’s name to change to the Spotswood Volunteer Fire Department. Spotswood’s Relief Association was formed on March 28, 1928 with Arthur D. Appleby serving as Relief Association President.
This brings us to the current era of the department which began with the purchase of engine “74” which replaced the 1973 Hahn, and was significant in many ways. “74” was the first apparatus with a fully enclosed seating area for the entire crew, it was also the first to be outfitted with equipment for vehicle extrication. Engine 74 is a 2001 Pierce Quantum pumper with a 1500gpm pump and a 750 gallon tank. A few years later the department acquired a 2003 Ford F350 pickup truck used with extremely low mileage. The truck was acquired utilizing funds from the recycling committee the department operated to assist the town with bulk metal pickup. The truck would initially serve as a means to trailer the departments 1921 model T to shows. Later on the operational division of the department sought the use of the pickup to assist in carrying equipment for the expanding services the department provides. In 2008 the recycling committee was disbanded from the fire department and turned over to borough control. The remaining funds were utilized to purchase the 2008 Dodge Durango which would serve as one of the 2 chiefs vehicles until recent replacement in 2022. At the same time the borough had placed the order and was awaiting delivery of the 2009 Pierce Quantum pumper Engine 71-1. The arrival of this engine led to the retirement of engine 79 and also marked a change in the departments numbering scheme. All of the departments vehicles would now bear the number “71” which represents the departments county number designation. The 71 would be followed by a hyphen and the radio call sign of the apparatus. Again aside from a few minor differences Engine 71-1 would appear as a twin to 71-4 with a 1500gpm pump and 750 gallons of water. In 2016 the department would receive a 2016 Chevy Tahoe Chiefs vehicle which would mark the first time both chiefs were operating vehicles purchased specifically for the department. Prior the department usually operated a vehicle previously assigned to other departments throughout the borough. After Hurricane Irene swept through the borough causing incredible damage and flooding that had never been seen before, the department recognized a need for a water and ice rescue element in the borough. After the purchase of an inflatable boat and the various other equipment required as well as an incredible amount of training. The department is now equipped and trained to handle water and ice rescue emergencies. In the late 2010s Engine 71-2 formerly “72” began to show its age not to mention with its open style riding area causing a safety risk. The department began planning its replacement and the committee determined due to the changes within the community, a multipurpose apparatus that had a ladder as well as a pump would be the best fit.
This brings us to the acquisition of Ladder 71-9 which is a 2020 Pierce Enforcer 107′ Ascendant ladder. 71-9 has a 2000gpm pump and a 650 gallon water tank on top of the 107′ aerial ladder the truck is built around. While there are no sky scrapers in Spotswood the housing set backs, large warehouses and multi story senior citizen housing create the necessity for a large ladder. This truck allows the department to reach areas which are normally beyond the reach or are inaccessible to ground ladders. Currently the department is approaching its 125th anniversary so stay tuned and return periodically to see what the next 100 years will bring us!